30 years ago, Interreg was created in a spirit of knowledge-sharing and collaborative thinking across Europe. We planned to celebrate successful cooperation beyond borders this year, but then suddenly the COVID-19 pandemic brought back national solutions that hindered us from travelling. The already looming socioeconomic aftermath will affect our societies for years to come.need translation with this page?
In our “new normal” it soon became clear to us that cooperation beyond borders is more important than ever. It needs to be defended and backed up on all levels.
But is that view also shared by our European leaders? We asked them and found that they, indeed, have a strong and positive opinion about transnational cooperation. They clearly support how we tackle crises and collaborate with our neighbours for a more resilient and better Europe.
What do EU leaders think about Interreg?
The initial idea to address European leaders was a traditional one. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Interreg, we planned to organise a joint Interreg event to show the added value and impact of cooperation beyond borders for our cities and regions. However, the pandemic changed all our plans. The new normal we live in tests how fit we are for the new digital era. A big challenge for programmes, projects and people willing to work even more closely together. We turned our plans upside down and in #InterregTalks we asked European leaders why Interreg cooperation is central and needed more than ever.
We were glad to see that they value the importance of cooperation, especially in times of the COVID-19 aftermath: “ Interreg stands for the truly European spirit of crossing borders. Not only in geographical terms, but also with regards to overcoming obstacles, bridging differences and joining forces for the sake of a common good. Cooperation is central. We need the spirit of cooperation more than ever”, said Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Administration.
The opinion is shared among the members of the European Parliament we spoke with, starting from Younous Omarjee, Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development: “Interreg helps to create a common vision and future beyond borders, which is now important more than ever”, he said. For Niklas Nienass, German Member of the European Parliament, “Interreg is a great programme, and for their 30th birthday, I really would like to see more money being spent on this very, very important issue”.
It is great to see that EU leaders value the importance of cooperation, especially in times of the COVID-19 aftermath. Our projects deliver new innovative tools, which regions and cities need for a successful transformation to a smarter, greener and more connected place. For all people, all across Europe.
To learn more about what transnational cooperation has achieved, you can join our walk through cooperation in Europe.